Sample Formal Research Outlines

An outline is the essence of your research - it is what you learned & how you learned it
Note structure - how the support is organized and provided:
Topic = who or what your research is about; it is what you want to learn about. It is not included on your outline
Color Key & Terms - see how these outline elements look in the samples research outlines below.
After doing research, it is what you found out about your topic - the conclusion you reach.
It is a broad general statement about what you learned.
Main Ideas
(I, II, II...) Main Ideas
Provided to support the THESIS (what you learned) This shows how you learned it. It supports your conclusion with ideas.
      (A, B,C,..) Supporting Development (provided to support Supporting Ideas)
           (1,2,3...)  More Detail (when needed to support Supporting Development)


Below are samples of student research topics. Click to see, or scroll down the page to see them all.
1 Topic: Breaking the Glass Ceiling for Women      6 Topic: Inflation
2 Topic: Autism A Diagnosis of Utmost Importance   7 Sleep
3 Topic: The Great Apes and Language Ability   8 The Eden  Alternative
4 Topic: TV viewing of professional sports by young males   9 Unromantic views of relationships
5 Topic: Indian women and hair sacrifice   10 Cane Corso


1  Topic: Breaking the Glass Ceiling for Women
If women are ever to break through the glass ceiling in significant numbers, business attitudes will have to change, particularly the definition of successful management styles.

I. Women face resistance form both men and women in top management.
   A. Women are in a double bind; they are expected to act like men, but are criticized when  they do.
   B. Women also face resistance form "Queen Bees," other women who are already executives.

   1. Queen bees feel that younger women should not have it any easier than they did.
     2. Queen bees interfere with working conditions, morale, and promotions.

II. Business favors a masculine management style over a feminine style.
   A. A masculine management style is characterized by a militaristic atmosphere that fosters competition.
   B. Women are not given the option to exercise their own style.
   C. When women imitate men, they are subject to sex-role stereotyping and alienation.

      1. Brown and Geis found stereotyping in their study
      2. Women executives pass around a humorous list of characteristics of business versus businesswoman.
      3. Loden says that women are less effective when they imitate men.

III. A feminine management style must be accommodated in business if women are to 
     make it into top management.

   A. Interviews with a female manager illustrates a  feminine style of cooperation.
   B. Powell emphasizes that an androgynous management style takes account both tasks and emotion.
   C. An androgynous style of management will help not only women but business itself


2 Topic: Autism: A Diagnosis of Utmost Importance
Diagnosing an individual with autism must be a decision that is rooted in certainty and confidence. Such a diagnosis will have a fundamental impact on the rest of the individual’s life.

I.  If a child is diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder during the first years
   his/her life, trained professionals can take proactive measures to improve behavioral
   and language skills
   A. Brain development is most sensitive during the first three years of life
   B. Behavior can drastically be improved if a child participates in intensive treatment early
   C. Treatment of children under the age of five have greater chances of being mainstreame

       1. IQ can drastically be improved with early intervention
II.  An appropriate diagnosis allows an individual to qualify for several government
    services that aid in development and alleviate pressure from families

   A.Once an individual turns eighteen, it is more difficult to qualify for services; therefore, all efforts must be
      made to make an accurate diagnosis during the childhood years.
   B. DDD offers many services to families
   C. One must apply and be approved for these services. If a diagnosis is incorrect, an individual may not
      qualify for much needed aid.

III.  By correctly identifying autism in an individual, other needs, like mental health may 
      be addressed
    A. Many adolescents with Asperger’s Syndrome experience clinical depression and are often treated with
    B. Individuals with autism may experience heightened levels of fear and anxiety when faced with unfamiliar
      social settings. This has great implications for clinical skill training.
    C. If professionals are unable (or unwilling) to diagnose autism, the individual’s other needs may be
      compromised. It has been proven that individuals with autism experience vulnerability to mental health
       issues. A diagnosis of autism will open up the discussion of depression or anxiety.

IV  Conclusion
  A. Professionals, families, and communities must advocate for correct diagnoses. Misdiagnosis can lead to an
       individual missing out on needed services or mental health aid.
  B. Life for individuals with autism can be rewarding and fulfilling, but only if their loved ones make all efforts
      to ensure that they reach their highest potential.


3  Topic: The Great Apes and Language Ability

The great apes resemble humans in language abilities more than researchers once believed, but it is as yet unknown to what extent apes can combine symbols in grammatical patterns.


   I. The great apes have demonstrated significant language skills.
     A. The great apes have acquired large  vocabularies in sign language and in a language of symbol.
     B. Despite charges that they are merely responding to their trainers' clues, apes have used language spontaneously.

        1. They have performed well in experiments that eliminate the possibility of cueing.
        2. They initiate conversations with other apes.
        3. They can learn signs and symbols from one another.

     C. Apes appear to use their language skills creatively.
        1. They have invented creative names.
        2. There is some evidence that they lie, joke, and swear.

     D. Apparently apes begin to conceptualize the same way children do.
 II. It is not yet been demonstrated that apes can combine signs in grammatical patterns to form

        A. The apes' sequences of signs are often confusing and repetitious.
        B. Lana's manipulation of stock sentences could be the result of conditioning.
        C. The Gardners' example is inconclusive.
        D. Even Patterson does not claim that her apes grasp grammar.

III. Current research at Yerks Primate Center ma provide more conclusive answers.
        A. Kanzzi combines symbols in what appears to be simple grammatical patterns.
        B. The Pygmy chimpanzees are beginning to understand spoken English


4  Topic: TV viewing of professional sports by young males


Habitual TV viewing of professional sports by young males can contribute towards despondency and a negative self image in the viewer.

    I. Young males create self image based on what is aired on TV
A. Iconic behavior establishes norms that self image is based on.
  1. TV present iconic behavior
            2. TV present icons of unnatural proportion
            3. TV is the single most activity young males participate in on a routine bases

B. Self Image has a lot do do with those viewed as role models (exhibiting iconic behavior)

            1. Role models represent standard of male behavior

    II. Professional sports set standards for young males to emulate

         A. Standards are benchmarks which establish goals for young males

         B. Professional sports are a major sources of entertainment that ingrains standard for young males to emulate
  1. Habitual sports viewing ingrains male image modeling

    III. Inability to compete with perceived superior male image results in despondent behavior

         A. physical competition is an important  way young males establish dominance and self perception

         B. inability to compete results in dependency

              1. TV models are impossible to compete against

    IV. Habitual behavior relating to TV viewing is reinforced by the male image perception creation process

        A. Appearance of  masculinity is important to young males

        B. More TV watched reinforces standards in the young male that cannot be competed against

        C. When faced with defeat, young males often retreat and feel defeated

    V. Young males who feel despondent view themselves as failures

        A. self image is a serious mitigating factor in determining self worth

    VI. Impossible image to achieve result in more TV watched

        A. Creates a circular pattern that perpetuates the cycle of despondency
        B  The need to compete still exists, but is impossible to afford victory.
1. To win a young male will watch more TV to see icons win

             2. Results in more TV watched.

        C. Results in perpetuated cycling of male modeling


5 Topic: Indian women and hair sacrifice

Indian women are uninformed about how important their hair is once it is sacrificed.

I.  Many Indian women believe that sacrificing their hair will bring them great happiness.
    A.  Travel for days to temple
    B.  Sacrifice to Hindi God Ganesh
    C.  Many sacrifice more than once in a lifetime

II.  Many Indian women treasure their original hair
    A.  Keep it in its natural state
    B.  No color
    C.  No perm

III.  Indian Hindi faith is used to fund world fashion market
    A.  Sacrifices make temple richest center in the world
    B.  Thousands of heads shaved each day
    C.  Temples have contracts to sell hair to certain companies or auctions the hair
    D.  Hair ends up on rich and famous to school grade girls all over the world

IIII.  Indian women are exploited because of the greed of hair traders
A.  Not paid at all to sacrifice hair
    B.  Don't know hair is being sold into billion dollar industry
    C.  Hair pickers paid less than $12 a day to dry, clean, organize hair
    D.  Women don't know that the value of their sacrificed hair increases hundreds of times along the trading tra


6 Topic: Inflation

While small amounts of inflation can be good for the economy, high levels of inflation can have devastating effects for nearly all individuals in a society.

I. First, it is necessary to define inflation and specify how it is measured.
   A. Inflation
   B. Nominal vs. Real Value
   C. Money Supply
   D. Expected vs. Unexpected Inflation
   E. Measuring Inflation

II. Inflation negatively affects people’s value of income and taxes
   A. In the United States, income tax brackets are adjusted to inflation,  but wages generally increase more slowly than prices
   B. Interest Income will generally be higher when there are large amounts of inflation, but then the impact of taxes will be higher

III. Inflation can have a negative impact on existing lenders and positive impact on existing borrowers
   A. The increase in interest rate that accompanies inflation causes losses for an existing lender who lent money at low interest rate.
   B. Borrowers with existing loans are benefited by inflation, but future borrowers will face higher interest rates
IV. Inflation changes the value of people’s savings
   A. An individual’s savings will actually experience a loss in value if inflation exceeds the interest they are receiving
   B. People in retirement are most affected since they will not be able to afford what they expected for their savings

V. Inflation causes changes in the value of wealth
   A. Physical assets, such as houses, increase in nominal value, so their real value is preserved
   B. Cash loses its value which has negative effect especially on less wealthy groups of people who hold their money in cash


7 Topic: Sleep


Sleep provides many benefits to the physical and mental health of the body.


I While sleeping, the body is improved physically.

A. Cells are able to regenerate, and the body able to heal.

B. Sleep keeps the heart healthy.

C. Sleep helps to lose weight.
D. Two hormones that control appetite are regulated during sleep.

II While sleeping, the body is improved mentally.

A. The brain upgrades itself by turning memory into an enhanced form.

B. Sleep keeps one more alert.

C. Sometimes sleep can help regulate nervousness and offer an escape from stress.

III The effects of lack of sleep are detrimental physically.

A. One night of sleep deprivation is equivalent to being legally intoxicated by B.alcohol.

C .Lack of sleep puts the body in high alert, which raises blood pressure that leads to stroke or heart attack.

D. Weakens the immune system. This can lead to getting sick easier.

IV The effects of lack of sleep are detrimental mentally

A. Increase of stress and irritability.

B. Hallucinations are much more common and can affect the conscious reality of the person.

C.Cannot formulate words, make quick logical decisions, and react to unpredicted rapid changes.

V Of the 5 Stages of sleep, the first & second stages help the body recharge the fastest

A. Power naps are the most efficient way to recharge because the body recharges faster at the beginning of the sleep cycle
     rather than at the end.

B. REM sleep is at the end of the cycle, if one awakes at this stage, grogginess and sleepiness is a result.

VI A body’s internal clock that is scheduled for a 24 hour day/night cycle is the most beneficial

A. The internal clock is a rhythm that the body follows in a 24 hour day.

B. A clock that is not in sync with a day/night schedule could cause problems sleeping and waking up feeling tired.

C. The RCM is a mechanism in the brain responsible for the 24 hour rhythm. If it is damaged (concussion or injury) one
     would not be able to wake up or have a longer sleep cycle.

C. Disruption of the internal clock (like sleeping during the day) can make it more difficult to fall asleep.

VII There are potential theories of why sleep benefits animals and why the body does it.

A. Inactivity Theory (Theory explains why sleeping and not moving helped protect animals at night, since it was beneficial it 
     was passed down)

B. Energy Conservation (Theory explains in the night was difficult to hunt for food, animals slept to conserve energy until the

C. Restorative Theories (Explains how sleeping restores cells that were damaged during activity, and helps rejuvenate the

D. Brain Plasticity Theory (Explains how sleep is needed so the brain can change itself based on days events)


Thesis- The Eden Alternative will enhance and enrich the lives of residents and staff in long-termcare facilities.   

     I.                     I     The Eden Alternative’s home-like design provides residents with a better living environment.

A.   It transforms traditional sterile type long-term care facilities into a home-like environment.

B.   It changes the overall culture of an organization to empower residents to make decisions involving their care.

C.   Decisions regarding residents care are made by residents and their caregivers.

  1. The benefits from implementing Eden Alternative promote a better quality of life for the residents and staff. 
    1. It improves the well-being of the residents and those that provide their care.
    2. It creates an environment where residents want to live, people want to visit, and staff wants to work.
    3. It decreases the use of mood alerting drugs.
    4. It increases resident’s sociability.
    5. It increases staff retention.
    6. It decreases staff absentee.
  2. The three plagues, loneliness, boredom, and helplessness is eliminated when the Eden Alternative is adopted by a facility. 
    1. Loneliness is reduced through companionship with other residents, staff, children, plants, and animals.
    2. Helplessness is eliminated by involving residents in decision-making, household tasks, and the care for themselves.
    3.  Boredom is eliminated by spontaneity and varied activities provided in daily living.
  3. Research has validated the benefits of Eden Alternative but there are challenges in the implementation.
    1. The Eden Alternative results in a culture change requiring more education for training.
    2. Creating meaningful tasks for residents; increases work the load for employees and creates a barrier to implement Eden. 
    3. Introducing animals into the home requires careful consideration when choosing an animal for the home.  To ensure the animal is the right size, has the right personality and exhibits good behavior.  Staff needs to be educated because they fear of diseases and cleanliness from animals.
    4. Staff may be resistant to integrating residents to the outside community increases the workload of staff creating.
    5. The transformations to Eden requires a funding to make changes and the funds may not be readily making some resistant.


Thesis: Many unmarried young Americans possess a unique mentality about romantic relationships that has developed from new influences and phenomenon in society. 


I.                        I    “Hookup culture” is a popular term used to define the new phenomenon going on amongst America’s Y and Z generations. 

a.       A hookup is not easily defined, and has a unique meaning for every person.

                                                              i.      Some consider a fleeting kiss hooking up, but others only credit having sex as hooking up. 

                                                            ii.      However, a hookup is done with a partner whom the person is not in a relationship with.

                                                          iii.      Most of the time it happens once and then the physical connection between the two people is broken, but other times people hookup over and over again.

b.      What constitutes a hookup is that there is no emotional connection between the participating parties. 

                                                              i.      It is expected to be casually thought about the next day. 

                                                            ii.       Depending on the situation, the two people remain simple friends if they were friends before the hookup or strangers if they did not know each other at all.

c.       The culture aspect of the term is because hookup culture is a way of living in places like college campuses or a community of young professionals. 

                                                              i.      Hookup culture is the accepted way to live out one’s romantic life in these places.

                                                            ii.      Young society has adopted this culture as the norm. 

d.      Hookup culture exists amongst America’s adolescents and twenty-something year olds.

                                                              i.      Another name for generation Y is the millennial generation, and it consists of those born from 1977 to 1994.

1.      Hookup culture is more present towards the tail end of this generation who are not yet married.

                                                            ii.      Hopefully, only those in the very beginning of generation Z have experienced hookup culture since this generation consists of those born from 1995 to present day. 

I        II.    The millennials and early generation Z have adopted this influential culture as part of normal life and it exists within many of their
         social circles.

a.       It flourishes in an environment where the young are getting their first experience of physical independence from their parental figure or figures. 

                                                              i.      It thrives in a social setting like college.

b.      Hookup culture is a fad and it is what the cool crowd is doing.

                                                              i.      Friends say that it helps get to know what is desired in a future mate, and it takes less time to “play the field” without a committed relationship.

1.      One can experience multiple sexual partners simultaneously.

                                                            ii.      Peer pressure encourages the number of participants in hookup culture to increase.

1.      Even if it makes people unhappy and unsatisfied it is socially accepted.

c.       This phenomenon encourages casual sex rather than meaningful sex.

                                                              i.      Sex has become so casual that it is an activity worked into a schedule or routine.

                                                            ii.      Casual sex allows a person to engage in an activity that human bodies crave without the attachments of a monogamous relationship.

1.      It is just to have fun and gain experience.

2.      There is no emotional commitment, though one usually naturally develops if a sexual partner is repeated.


I      III. In opposition of hookup culture where relationships are frowned upon, the new mentality of these adolescents and twenty-
      somethings has also encouraged polygamy, entertaining multiple romantic relationships at once.    

a.       Polygamy has a long history in society and religious cultures so it is not something new that young Americans are doing.

b.      It could perhaps be a way human beings are looking to reach out to multiple people at once. 

                                                              i.      Despite their claim to desiring no emotional attachments, some humans search to fill a void in them through abundant sex.

c.       Or it could be that the generation before provided a misrepresentation of love for those who choose to engage in hookup culture and polygamy. 


        IV. Today, priorities are ordered differently for America’s aspiring generations Y and Z than the priorities of previous generations.

a.       Committed relationships restrict freedom to excel in careers.

b.      People are in a relationship with their work or school and do not have the time for a committed relationship with a fellow human being.

                                                              i.      In the movie Devil Wears Prada, Nate says to Andrea referring to her boss Miranda, “The person’s who phone calls you always take, that’s the person you are in the relationship with.”

c.       Women have more freedom in the job fields today thanks to the women’s rights movement. 

                                                              i.      They no longer need to look for a husband to support them.

                                                            ii.      Women are able to attain high paying jobs without discrimination more easily than in the past. 

1.      This gives them the freedom to stay single for a longer period of time.


         V.     The millennial generation has created a new era of dating due to their new priorities.

a.       Career focus has increased the number of long distance relationships.

                                                              i.      Some people decide to declare these distance relationships open, inviting in polygamy.

                                                            ii.      The young choose to take the better job in a new city over committing to a romantic relationship.

b.      The millennials have taken promiscuity one step farther than the generations that have preceded them, and generation Z will probably take it even further.

                                                              i.      In this day and age, there are times when sex comes first and then the relationship follows.

c.       The creation of dating websites has changed the world of relationships.

                                                              i.      Dating websites support polygamy and hookup culture on a certain level.

1.      It is easy to date, or even hookup with, multiple people off the site at the same time because there is little chance that they will know each other. 


Thesis: Although a Cane Corso may appear to be aggressive in appearance and exhibit dominant behavior towards other dogs and humans, a potential owner must be a strong leader and needs to understand the breed’s history, health issues, and behavioral temperament in order to properly train the puppy into an obedient family dog. 

I.  The Cane Corso is a large Italian dog breed that comes from the family of the Italian Molosser and Neapolitan Mastiff.

          A. The Cane Corso is one of the two native Italian Mastiff types of breed that originate    from the Roman Canis Pugnaces
                or dog warrior.

                      1. This breed was used by the Romans in warfare.

                      2. Cane Corso was used as a “catch dog” and as a hunter for wild boars.

                      3, Cane Corso is a rare breed and prior to 1990 was only known in southern Italy.

                      4. The Cane Corso arrived in America in the late 1980’s in Northern New Jersey.

          B.  The Cane Corso appears to be aggressive due to its size and appearance.

                      1. Cane Corso are athletic and males are slightly larger than females.

                      2. Potential owners have the option of cropping the puppy’s ears.

                      3. Cane Corso’s have leathery skin and coats have variations of colors.

                      4. This breed is known for its bite strength.

          C. The breed exhibits dominant behavior towards humans and dogs.

                      1. As a puppy, a Cane Corso will test human behavior and characteristics.

                      2. Cane Corso common characteristic is to show aggression towards other dogs.

                      3. Some dogs have and develop fearful behaviors due to not enough of socialization.

          D. The breed’s common health history problems.

                      1. Canine Hip Dysplasia is abnormal formation of the hip socket.

                      2. Demodex Mange in a dog is a common infestation of the dog’s skin with tiny, cigar-shaped eight-legged mites.

                      3. Cane Corsos develop eyelid abnormalities such as “cherry eye”, entropion, and ectropion.

                      4. Some dogs develop bloating where a dog’s stomach produces excessive gas and enlarges severely enough to
                          cause death without immediate treatment.

                      5. Following a schedule of feeding will allow the Cane Corso to grow correctly and prevent chance of disease.

                      6. As with humans, dogs are prone to cancer.

II. A potential owner of a Cane Corso needs to be strong minded.

          A. All puppies are sweet and adorable when they are young, but a Cane Corso will grow   to be a large dog and trainings
               needs to consistent early on.

          1. Buy your puppy a soft bed and crate and show your Corso their sleeping location.

          2. Do not allow Cane Corso pups to sleep on the bed or couch.

          3. Potty training your Cane Corso.

                      4. Socializing your puppy with other animals.

                      5. Cane Corso needs to be around humans and kids of all ages.

          B. Owner needs to show discipline and dominance so the puppy knows who the boss is.

                      1. Never hit your puppy.

                      2. Always offer praise and treats when puppy listens to commands.                                    

                      3. No means no and owner needs to follow consistent training and commands at all times.

                      4. Three most important things Cane Corso owners can do are neuter their dog, condition the dog for the world,
                          and supervise at all times.

III. Cane Corsos are similar to humans.

            A. Motivating Cane Corso is like motivation humans, there must be an incentive.

                      1. Owners must be patient when learning tricks.

                      2. Cane Corso becomes a great family pet if properly raised and trained.